The End of an Era: One of San Francisco’s Last Two Remaining Gay Porn Theaters Closes.

The Tearoom Theater

Located in the aptly named ‘Tenderloin’ district of downtown San Francisco, just off Market Street the Tearoom Theatre will close its doors this weekend leaving The Nob Hill Theatre as San Francisco’s last remaining gay porn theatre.

The Tea Room, formerly known as The Aquarius ran small independent films from 1970 – 1977 before becoming a gay male porn theatre  in the early 1980s. The theater’s one of the last gay businesses in the Tenderloin district, which was once home to many gay bars and bathhouses and served as the city’s gay hub, long before the Castro earned that distinction

The Tea Room featured a 50-seat theater, a small stage for dancers and “performances”, private rooms for watching porn, and a locker room. The tiny lobby held lobby cards of the current “theatrical entertainment” , and a sign warns, “J/O [jacking off] only is allowed in the theater.”

The Bay Area Reporter:

Steve Angeles, who’s worked at the theater for several years, said Monday that he didn’t know many of the details of the situation, but “the company doesn’t make any money,” and “the rent is very expensive.”

The Tea Room tends to draw men 40 and older. Business has been steady, Angeles said, but the owner, who couldn’t directly be reached for comment, hasn’t been able to make a deal on the rent, which had already increased several times.

Angeles doesn’t know how much the current rent is. The owner’s only been signing six-month leases in recent years, he said.

While some are trying to blame the Tea Rooms closure on hook-up apps like Grindr and Scruff the real problem it seems  belongs be the tech boom’s influence on rent hikes, gentrification and the gay communities assimilation which is in turn is financially ruining LGBT businesses, running them out of neighborhoods and is lending itself to the  possibly a ‘de-gaying” of America’s gayest city.

Support LGBT businesses and preserve our history.  Patronize a gay bar, an independently owned LGBT store, a porn theatre or bathouse today.

 

 

 

Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

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3 Responses

  1. MPetrelis says:

    Be sure to check out the customer satisfaction survey the Tea Room Theater owners circulated a few years ago, to better serve their audience and stay in business: http://mpetrelis.blogspot.com/2016/05/sfs-gay-adult-male-tea-room-theater-is.html

  2. “Support LGBT businesses and preserve our history. Patronize a gay bar, porn theatre or bathouse today.” Good advice, but this is only the beginning. The time has come when we need to more unified and mutually-supportive “world-view” not only in our legal and social issues but our economic issues, skills and development as well. If you agree with me and would like to do something about it, I invite you to join me on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/423119161205216/ .

  3. I moved to SF in 89 and lived their for 20yrs and have seen so many Changes in all Neighborhoods i finally left as the Techies have Ruined what once was the Charm of SF and cost of living is OUTRAGIOUS! Its no longer the City I once loved sad to say

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